NB: For prior Latin-language chronicles covered on this site, see:
. The Gallic Chronicle of 452
. The Gallic Chronicle of 511
. The Byzantine-Arabic Chronicle
. The Mozarabic Chronicle
The chronicles of early medieval Spain that I have previously translated with commentary deal with the later years of Visigothic rule over Spain in the seventh century and the collapse of that rule on account of the Muslim conquests in the early eighth century. This chronicle, conventionally dubbed the chronicle of Alfonso III, also examines the later years of Visigothic rule and its collapse (portrayed as being the result of sins and betrayals), but its main focus is on the rise of the Kingdom of Asturias in far north-western Spain and the beginnings of the Christian pushback against the Muslim conquest of the Iberian Peninsula in the eighth and ninth centuries. That process of pushback, which lasted until 1492, is called the Reconquista ('reconquest'). The Kingdom of Asturias- covered in the chronicle from the reign of Pelagius to the reign of Ordoño I- is effectively presented as some kind of continuation of Visigothic rule. For Pelagius, who was the founder and first king of the Kingdom of Asturias as mentioned in this chronicle, was himself of the remnants of the Visigothic nobility that fled from the Muslim conquests but remained inside Spain, regrouping in the Asturias region.
A depiction of Pelagius (called Pelayo in Spanish).
This chronicle comes in two versions. I have translated the Sebastian version for this post. Though the exact authorship of the work is a matter of debate, there can be no doubt that the purpose is to glorify the Kingdom of Asturias. Little wonder then that the divine hand plays a key role in the first Asturian victory over the Muslim invaders, while accounts of Asturian setbacks in the conflicts with the Muslims are lacking. One should also take with a pinch of salt the huge purported numbers of Muslims slain in various battles (though it makes for some bloody reading). Despite these points, the chronicle is not simply an account of 'good Christians' vs. 'bad Muslims': there are also interesting stories of domestic unrest within the kingdom (e.g. Basque and Galician rebellions), coup attempts and an instance of familial rivalry within the Asturian ruling dynasty. Of further interest are the stories of the Viking raids and the emergence of Musa of the Banu Qasi, who supposedly declares himself the third king of Spain.
I would like to dedicate this work to a group of special friends in the realm of jihadism studies: Aaron Zelin, Pieter Van Ostaeyen, Tore Hamming, Charlie Winter, Guy Van Vlierden, Amarnath Amarasingam, Moustafa Ayad, Daniele Raineri, Wassim Nasr, Pieter Nanninga and Reinier Bergema. To all of you: keep up your great work, and take some time out from jihadism studies to read some medieval history.
Below is my translation of the chronicle with notes. I have mostly preserved the original transliterations of names of people and places for the sake of authenticity. Any suggested amendments/corrections are most welcome.
Chronicle to Sebastianus
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ begins the chronicle of the Visigoths collected from the time of King Vuamba[i] all the way until now in the time of the glorious King Garsea,[ii] the son of Adefonsus[iii] of divine memory.
King Adefonsus sends regards to our Sabastianus. Let it be noted to you about the history of the Goths, for which you became known to us through the presbyter Dulcidius[ ...][iv] and the laziness of the old ones did not want to write, but they hid in silence. And since the chronicle of the Goths all the way to the time of the glorious King Vuamba was elaborated most fully by the Ysidorus[v] the bishop of the seat of Seville, and we indeed from that time will intimate to you in brief form those things as we have heard from the antiquities and from our predecessors and we have known to be true.
Therefore Recesuindus[vi] the king of the Goths, going out from the city of Toletum[vii] came into a nearby town, whose name was Gerticos,[viii] which is now known to be in mount Caure, and there he departed through his own illness. And when the king had finished his life and was buried in the same place, Vuamba was chosen by all in the kingdom in era 710.[ix] But although he was renouncing and not wanting to obtain, nonetheless accepted unwillingly what the army demanded. And immediately carried to Toletum he was anointed king in the metropolitan church of Saint Mary. At that hour a bee was seen by all present going out from his head and flying to the sky. And this sign was made by the Lord that he would win future victories, which the outcome subsequently proved. He subdued the Astores[x] and Vascones[xi] who were frequently rebelling and subdued them under his command. The citizens of the provinces of the Gallic regions, having devised a conspiracy, revolted from the kingdom of the Goths and submitted themselves to the kingdom of the Franks.
In order to restore and subdue these provinces, Paulus, directed by Vuamba with an army, not only did not complete the business enjoined upon him, but acting against the homeland became chief of the criminal tyrants. But if you want to know more fully what great slaughters, what great burnings of cities, what great massacres, what great columns of Franks and Gauls were killed by Vuamba and what great most distinguished victories the same man exercised, and what destructions resulted from Paul's tyranny, read the blessed metropolitan bishop Iulianus,[xii] who contextualised the history of this time in most fluid form.
But in the time of that man two hundred and seventy ships of the Sarracens[xiii] attacked the shore of Yspania,[xiv] and there all the columns of them were destroyed by the sword and their fleets were burnt with fire.[xv] And so that we may make known fully to you the cause of the entry of the Sarracens into Yspania, we expound the origin of King Ervigius.[xvi] For in the time of King Ciudasuintus,[xvii] a certain Ardabastus expelled from Greece by the emperor[xviii] arrived in travel to Yspania. Cindasuintus received him honourably and joined his cousin to him in marriage, from whom Ervigius was born. This Ervigius, after he had been raised from boyhood in the palace and endowed with the honour of count, with joy and slyness he plotted against the king and mixed a herb called spartus into the drink for him, and immediately the memory of the king was taken away. And when the bishop of the city and the optimates of the palace- who were loyal to the king and to whom the cause of the drink remained inwardly hidden- saw the king was shaken out of memory, moved by the cause of piety, lest the king should die without orders, immediately gave him the order of confession and penitence. And when the king had recovered from the drink and got to know the order imposed on him, he sought the monastery and remained in religion as long as he lived. He ruled as king for nine years, one month, and lived in the monastery for seven years and three months. He departed by his own death in peace.
After Vuamba, Ervigius obtained the kingdom which he slyly usurped, and he corrupted the laws established by Vuamba and brought out others in his own name and, as is said, he was modest towards the subdued. He gave his daughter Cixilo in marriage to the outstanding man Egica the cousin of Vuamba. The same aforementioned Ervigius died by his own end in Toletum. He ruled for six years, four months.
In era 725,[xix] after Ervigius died, the aforementioned Egica was elected in the kingdom, and he was very wise and patient. He frequently brought together the Synods, as the canonical institutes declare more clearly. He subdued the rebellious peoples inside the kingdom. He waged battle three times against the Franks breaking into the Gallic areas, but he took no triumph. He made his son Vuittiza[xx] his partner in the kingdom and ordered him to dwell in the Tudensian town[xxi] in the province of Gallaecia,[xxii] so that the father should hold the kingdom of the Goths and the son that of the Suevi.[xxiii] Before the election of the son, he ruled for ten years, with the son five years. He departed by his own end in Toletum.
In era 739[xxiv] after the departure of Egica, Vuitiza returned to his father's throne in Toletum. This man indeed was disgraceful and reprehensible in manners, and like a horse and mule, in which there is no understanding, he befouled himself with many wives and concubines. And lest the ecclesiastical censure should rise against him, he dissolved the councils, blocked observance of the canon precepts and distorted every religious order. He enjoined the bishops, presbyters and deacons to have wives. Indeed this crime was the cause of Yspania's perishing. And because the kings and priests abandoned the law of the Lord, all the columns of the Goths perished by the sword of the Sarracens. Meanwhile Vuitiza after ten years of rule died by his own death in Toletum in era 749.[xxv]
After Vuitiza died, Rudericus[xxvi] was elected king by the Goths. This man indeed wallowed in the sins of Vuitiza and not only failed to put an end to this criminality despite being armed with the zeal of justice, but amplified it more. Indeed the sons of Vuitiza, motivated by jealousy over the fact that Rudericus had received their father's kingdom, slyly conspired against him and sent envoys to Africa, and sought the help of the Sarracens and sent them carried by ships into Yspania. But they themselves, who brought destruction to the homeland,[xxvii] perished along with the people of the Sarracens by the sword.
And so when Rudericus had got to know of their entry, with all the column of the Goths he met them intending to do battle. But as the scripture says: in vain runs the one whom iniquity precedes.[xxviii] Having been oppressed by the mass of the sins of the priests and their own people and uncovered by the trickery of the sons of Vuittiza, all the column of the Goths were put to flight and destroyed by the sword. Concerning King Rudericus however the cause of his end remains known to no one. But in our uncouth times when the city of Viseo[xxix] and its suburb was populated by us, in a certain basilica a monument was found, where above it a carved epitaph thus says: here rests Rudericus the last king of the Goths.
Nonetheless the Arabs, with country and kingdom oppressed, paid for many years through governors tributes to the Babylonian king,[xxx] until they chose a king for themselves and established the patrician city of Córdoba as a city for themselves. Indeed the Goths perished partly by sword, partly by hunger. But those who remained from the royal seed, some of them made for Francia, but the greatest part entered into the country of the Asturians and chose for themselves as leader Pelagius the son of the former duke Faffila from the royal seed. But when the Sarracens got to know of the deed, immediately they sent to Asturias with an innumerable army duke Alcamanus, who along with Tarech[xxxi] had made the incursion into Yspania, and Oppa the metropolitan bishop of the seat of Seville the son of King Vuittiza, on account of whose trickery the Goths perished.[xxxii]
And when Pelagius got to know of their entry, he brought himself into mount Aseava[xxxiii] in the cave that is called the cove of Saint Mary. And immediately the army surrounded him, and the bishop Oppa approaching him thus said: I know that you cannot hide, brother, just as all of Yspania a short while ago- even as it had been constituted under the one regime of the Goths and the army of all of Yspania had been gathered in one- was unable to hold off the attack of the Smaelites-[xxxiv] let alone will you be able to defend yourself in this mountain opening! Indeed hear my counsel and recall your mind from this will, so that you may enjoy many goods and in the peace of the Arabs you may make use of all that was yours. To this Pelagius said: I will not be aligned in friendships with the Arabs, nor will I be subdue myself to their power. But have you not known that the church of God is comparable to the moon, which both endures setting and turns back again through time to the original fullness?
For we trust in the mercy of the Lord that the salvation of Yspania is from this modest little mountain that you see and the army of the people of the Goths is to be restored, so that in us may be fulfilled those prophetic words that say: I will visit in the stick their iniquities and in the whips their sins, but I will not take away My mercy from them.[xxxv] Therefore even if we have deservedly received the sentence of severity, we expect His mercy will come to restore the church, people and kingdom. So we reject this multitude of pagans and hardly fear them. Then the wicked bishop turned to the army and thus said: Hurry and fight, because you will not have treaties of peace with him except through the punishment of the sword.
Immediately they took up arms and committed to battle. Hurling machines were raised, slings were fitted, swords gleamed, spears were brandished and arrows were fired incessantly. But in this the great works of the Lord did not fail. For when the stones were sent out by the hurling machine operators and reached the home of the saint the eternal Virgin Mary, they passed over the target and turned back and strongly butchered the Caldeans.[xxxvi] And because the Lord does not count the lances, but extends the palm of victory to the one He wills, the faithful came out from the cove to fight. The Caldeans were immediately put to flight and were divided into two squadrons. And there immediately Oppa the bishop was caught and Alkaman was killed. Also in the same place 124,000 Caldeans were killed; but 63,000 who remained climbed out on the top of Mount Asevva and through the rugged part of the mountain, which is commonly called Ammossa, they descended straight to the territory of the Libanenses.[xxxvii] But they themselves did not escape the punishment of the Lord, for when they went through the summit of the mountain, which is situated over the bank of the river Deva, next to the estate that is called Causegadia,[xxxviii] thus was there evident action by the judgement of the Lord, that the part of the mountain itself, rolling itself out from its own foundations wondrously hurled 63,000 Caldeans into the river and crushed all of them. The same river in that place until now, when in winter-time it fills its riverbed and dissolves its banks, displays the signs of their arms and their bones most evidently. Do not think this miracle is inane and one of fable, but let us remember that He who drowned the Egyptians in the Red Sea as they persecuted Israel, crushed with the immense mass of the mountain the very Arabs as they persecuted the church of the Lord.
At the same time in this region of the Asturians in the city of Gegio[xxxix] the governor of the Caldeans was called Munnuza. This Munnuza was one of four commanders who previously oppressed the lands of Yspania. And so when he had got to know of the killing of the army of his people, he abandoned the city and sought flight. And when the Astores persued him and found him in the Olaliensian place, they destroyed him along with his army by the sword, such that not even one of the Caldeans remained inside the ports of the Pirineus. Then at last the columns of the faithful were gathered, the country was populated, the churches were restored and all in common gave thanks to God saying: May the name of the Lord be blessed, as He strengthens those who believe in Him and leads to nothing the wicked peoples. Pelagius after completing the nineteenth year of his rule departed by his own death in era 775.[xl]
His son Faffila succeeded in the kingdom. On account of the lack of time he did nothing worthy of history. On a certain occasion of triviality he was killed by a bear in the second year of his rule in era 777.[xli]
After the death of Faffila, Adefonsus[xlii] succeeded into the kingdom, a man of great virtue and the son of duke Peter. He was descended from the seed of the kings Levuegildus[xliii] and Reccaredus. In the time of Egica and Vittiza he was chief of the military. He took up the sceptres of rule with divine grace. The audacity of the Arabs was frequently crushed by him. Of what great grace and virtue and authority he was, subsequent acts make clear: at the same time with his brother Froila he waged many battles against the Sarracens and captured very many cities that had once been oppressed by them: namely, Lucus,[xliv] Tudis,[xlv] Portucalis,[xlvi] the metropolis of Bracara,[xlvii] Viseo, Flaviae,[xlviii] Agata,[xlix] Letesma, [l] Salamantica,[li] Zamora, Abela,[lii] Secobia,[liii] Astorica,[liv] Legio,[lv] Saldania,[lvi] Mabe,[lvii] Amaia,[lviii] Septemanca,[lix] Auca,[lx] Velegia Alabense, Miranda,[lxi] Revendeca, Carbonaria, Abeica, Brunes,[lxii] Cinisaria, Alesanco,[lxiii] Oxoma,[lxiv] Clunia,[lxv] Argantia,[lxvi] Septempublica,[lxvii] along with all the castles and their towns and villages. Also he killed all the Arab occupiers of the aforementioned cities and led the Christians with him back to their country.
In that time Primorias,[lxviii] Lebana,[lxix] Transmera,[lxx] Supporter,[lxxi] Carranza,[lxxii] Bardulies[lxxiii] which is now called Castella and the maritime part of Gallecia were populated. But Alaba,[lxxiv] Bizkai,[lxxv] Alaone and Urdunia[lxxvi] were found to have always been possessed by their inhabitants, just like Pampilona[lxxvii] and Berroza.[lxxviii] And so the aforementioned Adefonsus was very magnanimous. Without offense towards God and the church he led a life to be imitated in merit. He constructed and restored rather many basilicas. He ruled for eighteen years. He finished his life happily in peace.
And one must not pass over this wondrous miracle, which was most certainly done at the hour of his departure. For when he had sent out his spirit in the silence of the dark night and those on watch at the palace had most diligently preserved that man's body, suddenly in the air the voice of angels singing psalms was heard by all those on watch: behold how the just man is raised and no one cares; and the just men are raised and no one perceives in heart. From the face of iniquity has the just been raised, his burial will be in peace.[lxxix] Know straightaway that this is true and do not think it is a saying of fable: otherwise I should rather choose to be silent than prefer to bring forth falsehoods.
Era 795,[lxxx] after the departure of Adefonsus, his son Froila[lxxxi] succeeded into the kingdom. This man was very sharp in mind and arms. He won many victories. He fought a battle against the army of the Córdubans in the place that is called Pontuvio[lxxxii] in the province of Gallecia, and assailing them by storm he killed 54,000 Caldeans. Of these people he captured and killed in the same place by the sword the young leader called Huamar the son of Abderrahaman Iben Hiscam.[lxxxiii] He overcame and subdued the rebellious Vascones. A certain young Munnia from the booty of the Vascones he ordered to be placed in servitude to him. Afterwards he married her in royal wedding, from whom he had sired the son Adefonsus.[lxxxiv] He laid to waste the peoples of Gallecia rebelling against him, along with their country. Finally he killed his brother called Vimaranus by his own hands. Not much time afterwards, he received a punishment in retaliation as he was killed by his own men. He ruled for eleven years and three months. Era 806.[lxxxv]
After the death of Froila his paternal cousin Aurelius,[lxxxvi] the son of Froila[lxxxvii] the brother of Adefonsus,[lxxxviii] succeeded to the kingdom. In his time freedmen took up arms and tyrannically launched an insurrection against their own masters, but overcome by the industry of the leader they were all reduced into their original servitude.[lxxxix] He waged no battles because he had peace with the Arabs. He ruled for six years. So on the seventh year he rested in peace: era 812.[xc]
After the end of Aurelius, Silo[xci] succeeded into the kingdom, because of the fact that he had obtained Adosinda the daughter of the leader Adefonsus[xcii] as spouse. This man had peace with the Ismahelites.[xciii] He overcame through war and subjugated to his power the peoples of Gallecia rebelling against him on Mount Cuperius.[xciv] He ruled for nine years and in the tenth he ended his life in era 821.[xcv]
After Silo died, Queen Adosinda with all the palace officials put in place Adefonsus,[xcvi] the son of her brother King Froila,[xcvii] on his father's throne. But he was prevented by the trickery of Maurecatus his uncle,[xcviii] the son of the elder Adefonsus but born of a slave. So he was cast from his kingdom and he stayed with his mother's relatives in Alaba. But Maurecatus ruled the kingdom that he slyly usurped for six years. He departed by his own death in era 826.[xcix]
After Maurecatus died, Veremundus[c] the nephew of the elder Adefonsus- that is the son of Froila- was chosen as king. This Veremundus was a magnanimous man. He ruled for three years. By his own will he abdicated, remembering the order of the deaconship once imposed for him. He made his cousin Adefonsus,[ci] whom Maurecatus had expelled from the kingdom, as successor to himself in the kingdom in era 829[cii] and lived with him very dearly for very many years. He ended his life in peace.
In the third year[ciii] of the reign of this man,[civ] an army of Arabs entered Asturias with a certain leader called Mokehit.[cv] They were intercepted in the place that is called Lutos[cvi] by King Adefonsus and along with the aforementioned leader around 70,000 were killed by sword and filth. This man was the first who strengthened the throne of the kingdom in Ovetum.[cvii] Also he constructed through wonderful effort a basilica in the name of our Redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ, (also specifically called the church of the holy Saviour), adding to the main altar from both sides twelve others with epitaphs for all of the apostles, along with the burial of their remains. Also he built a church in honour of Saint Mary the eternal Virgin adhering from the northern part to the aforementioned church. In this church, besides the main altar he constructed an altar from the right side with epitaph in memory of Saint Stephan, and from the left in memory of Saint Iulianus. Also in the western part of this venerable home he constructed a mausoleum to bury the bodies of the kings. And he also founded a third basilica in memory of Saint Tyrsus,[cviii] the beauty of which work is more admirable in sight than an erudite writer can praise. Also he built at around one stadium away from the palace a church in memory of Saint Iulianus the martyr with twin altars placed around from here and there with the wondrous construction of décor. So also he constructed fine royal palaces, baths, triclinia, houses and praetoria, and he made all the finest useful things of the kingdom.
In the thirtieth year of his rule two armies of the Caldeans made for Gallecia,[cix] of whom one of their leaders was called Alahabbaz[cx] and the other Melih,[cxi] both Alkorescis.[cxii] So they made a bold incursion, and they were destroyed more boldly. For at one time one perished in the place that is called Naron, the other in the river Anceum. And so in the following time of this reign a certain man called Mahmut[cxiii] arrived, a fugitive from the face of Abderrahman the Córduban king, against whom the one time Emeritensian[cxiv] citizen had waged a long-standing rebellion. He was received with royal clemency in Gallicia and remained there for seven years. But in the eighth year he gathered a force of Sarracens and plundered the neighbouring lands and brought himself for protection into a certain castle that is called Saint Cristina. When this deed was declared to royal ears, he mobilised an army and besieged the castle in which Mahmud was. He then drew up the battle lines and assailed the castle with attackers. And soon in the first encounter of the struggle that Mahmud, the most famous of warriors, was killed. His head was presented to the royal sight. And that castle was stormed, in which almost 50,000 Sarracens, who had gathered from Spania to his aid, were butchered. And Adefonsus happily returned as victory in peace to Ovetum. And thus through fifty two years,[cxv] he governed the kingdom with chastity, sobriety, immaculateness, piety and glory. Beloved to God and men, he sent out his spirit to heaven. Indeed his body was buried with all veneration of funeral rites in the aforementioned church of Saint Mary founded by him in a stone tomb. It rests in peace.
Era 881:[cxvi] after the departure of Adefonsus, Ranimirus[cxvii] the son of the leader Veremundus was elected into the kingdom, but at the time he was away in the Barduliensian province[cxviii] in order to receive a wife. On account of this absence it happened that Nepotianus the count of the palace usurped the kingdom for himself tyrannically. And so when Ranimirus learnt that his cousin Adefonsus had departed from this life and Nepotianus had invaded the kingdom, he entered the Lucensian city of Gallecia[cxix] and gathered the army of the whole province for himself. So after a short while he invaded Asturias. Nepotianus met him at the bridge of the river Narcia[cxx] with a gathered force of Asturians and Vascones. Immediately abandoned by his own men, he was put to flight and captured by two counts- namely, Scipio and Sonna- in the Premoriensian territory.[cxxi] Thus receiving the things worthy of his deeds his eyes were gouged out and he was assigned to a monastery. And so in the following time the fleets of the Nordomanni[cxxii] arrived through the northern ocean to the shore of the city of Gegio and from there they made for the place that is called Farum Brecantium.[cxxiii] When Ranimirus who was by now made king discovered this, he sent against them an army with dukes and counts, and he killed a multitude of them and burned their ships with fire. But those of them who remained attacked the city of Yspalis[cxxiv] of Spania and capturing booty from them they killed very many of the Caldeans by sword and fire.
Meanwhile Ranimirus the leader was often driven by civil wars, for the count of the palace Aldoroitus conspired against the king and was blinded by royal decree. Also Piniolus, who after him was count of the palace, rose against the king in open tyranny. He was killed by him along with his seven sons. Meanwhile the aforementioned king founded a church in memory of Saint Mary on the side of Mount Naurantius,[cxxv] two thousand paces from Ovetum. It was of wondrous beauty and perfected charm. And although I am silent about other things of its charm, it was vaulted with multiple arches and constructed with limestone and precious stone alone. If anyone wants to liken a building to it, he will not find one in Spania. Also he founded many palaces and beautiful and wonderful baths not far from the aforementioned church. In addition he fought against the Sarracens twice and was victorious. But with the seventh year of his reign completed he rested in peace in Ovetum.
Era 888:[cxxvi] after Ranimirus died, Hordonius[cxxvii] his son succeeded into the kingdom. This man was of great patience and modesty. This man repopulated the abandoned cities from which the elder Adefonsus had cast out the Caldeans: that is, Tudis, Astorica, Legio and Amagia Patricia. He very often fought against the Caldeans and triumphed. In the beginning of his reign, when he mobilised an army against the rebellious Vascones and subjugated their homeland to his jurisdiction, a messenger arrived as he was returning to his own affairs. The messenger said: Behold on the opposite side is the army of the Arabs. Immediately the king turned the sword and the battle lines against them. And immediately he put their crowd to flight and mutilated them with the glittering sword. But I will not be silent about that which I know was truly done. A certain individual called Muzza[cxxviii] was Gothic by nation but deceived in the Mamentian[cxxix] rite along with all of his people, whom the Caldeans call the Benikazzi,[cxxx] he rebelled against the Córdoban king and he invaded many cities, partly by the sword, partly by trickery: first Cesaragusta,[cxxxi] then Tutela[cxxxii] and Osca,[cxxxiii] and finally Toletum, where he placed his son called Lupus[cxxxiv] as prefect. Afterwards he turned his arms against the Franks and Gauls. There he committed many slaughters and plunders. Indeed he captured two great dukes of the Franks- one called Sanctio, the other Epulo- through trickery and sent them bound into prison. From the Caldeans indeed two great tyrants- one Alkoresci by descent called Iben Hamza, another mollitem[cxxxv] called Alporz with his son Azet- were captured in battle, partly by the father Muzza, partly by his son Lupus. So on account of such great victory he swelled into such great arrogance that he ordered himself to be called the third king in Spania by his own people.
Against him King Ordonius mobilised an army and towards the city, which that man had newly drawn up with wondrous effort and called Albeilda, did the king come with his army and surrounded it with siege equipment. Indeed Muzza himself arrived with an innumerable multitude and fixed camp on the mountain called Laturzo.[cxxxvi] So King Hordonius divided his army into two parts: one which should besiege the city, the other which should fight against Muzza. Immediately battle was committed and Muzza was put to flight with his army. They raged with such great slaughter against them, that more than 10,000 of the magnates together with his brother called Garsea were killed, the plebs excepted. But he himself stabbed three times escaped half alive and there lost much of his war gear and the gifts, which Carolus[cxxxvii] the king of the Franks had sent to him. And never afterwards did he have the effect of victory. But King Hordonius applied the whole army to the city. He invaded it also on the seventh day. He killed all the fighting men with the sword, destroyed the city itself all the way to its foundations and returned with great victory to his own affairs. Indeed Lupus the son of the same Muzza, who was in charge of Toletum as consul, subjected himself to King Hordonius with all his men after he heard about the defeat of his father. And as long as he lived in this life, he remained subject to him. Afterwards indeed he waged any battles with him against the Caldeans.
The oft-mentioned King Hordonius captured many other cities through battles: namely, the Cauriensian city [cxxxviii]with its king called Zeiti, as well as the city of Talamanca[cxxxix] that is like it with its king called Mozror and his wife. He killed all of their fighting men, and sold as slaves the remaining people with wives and children. Again the Nordomani in piracy reached our shores during these times. From there they went into Spania and devastated all its coast in plundering with sword and fire. From there having crossed the sea they invaded the city of Nacchor of Mauritania[cxl] and there they killed a multitude of Caldeans by the sword. From there they attacked the islands of Maiorica and Minorica[cxli] and devastated them with the sword. Finally they reached Greece and returned to their own land after a period of three years.
The aforementioned King Hordonius after completing sixteen years of rule was seized by the illness of gout and died at Ovetum and was buried in the basilica of Saint Mary with the prior kings. He led happy times in the kingdom, and he is happy in heaven. And he who was very much loved by the peoples, now rejoices with the holy angels in the realms of heaven, with our Lord Jesus Christ pre-eminent, as he lives with God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the unity of the deity and is glorified eternally through the ages. Amen.
[i] Wamba, Visigothic king of Spain in the period 672-680 CE.
[ii] García I, king of León in the period 910-914 CE.
[iii] Alfonso III, king of Asturias in the period 866-910 CE.
[iv] Apparently, there is supposed to be a gap here in the original text (the most notable one in my view, hence I have marked it with ellipse). The opening sentences are admittedly somewhat difficult. Despite the naming of the chronicle as the Chronicle of Alfonso III, it has been argued that the actual author of this chronicle is Sebastianus, not Alfonso III, which might be suggested by the opening sentences. Some renderings try to work around the original Latin and give a sense to pro qua nobis per Dulcidium presbiterem notuisti that is not warranted in my view. If anyone has an alternative view, please write to me.
[v] Isidore of Seville.
[vi] Recceswinth, Visigothic king of Spain in the period 649-672 CE.
[viii] Now the locality of Wamba in the Valladolid area of Spain.
[ix] The era is a Spanish-system of dating. Simply subtract 38 to get the corresponding CE date. Hence era 710 is equivalent to 672 CE.
[x] The Asturians.
[xi] The Basques, a people of northern Spain.
[xii] The bishop Julian of Toledo, who wrote multiple works including a history of King Wamba's reign.
[xiii] The Saracens: the Arabs.
[xv] This raid is not attested in other sources outside the two versions of the Chronicle of Alfonso III, as Kenneth Baxter Wolf has pointed out.
[xvi] Erwig, Visigothic king of Spain in the period 680-687 CE.
[xvii] Chindasuinth, Visigothic king of Spain in the period c. 644-653 CE.
[xviii] i.e. The Byzantine emperor.
[xix] i.e. 687 CE.
[xxi] The town of Tuy/Tui in the Galicia region of Spain, currently on the border with Portugal.
[xxiii] The Suevi were a Germanic people who established a realm in northwest Iberia during the decline of the Western Roman Empire.
[xxiv] i.e. 701 CE.
[xxv] i.e. 711 CE.
[xxvi] Roderic. Note in contrast that the Mozarabic Chronicle portrays him as having come to power in a coup amid internal turmoil in Spain.
[xxvii] Cf. The narrative in Mark of Toledo's prologue to his Latin translation of the Qur'an that mentions how parts of Spain fell to the Muslims through the actions of 'traitors.'
[xxviii] In Zacarías García Villada's edition (Madrid, 1918) of the chronicle, the following comment is written: 'We have not been able to find this text, but it has some similarity with Psalm 126:1.'
[xxix] Perhaps Viseu in modern-day northern Portugal.
[xxx] When I initially read this, I thought that the Arabs were being portrayed as subjects of the actual Babylonians of old or the Persians (the Sassanids) before establishing their own empire. However, comparison with the other version of this chronicle illustrates that the author's apparent meaning is the Umayyad caliph in Damascus. But the author seems to be confused here in discussing the relationship between the Muslim-ruled lands of Spain and the central caliphate authorities in the Middle East. It is true that the lands in Spain became a separate emirate with Córdoba as its capital, but this was because the emirate was a continuation of some form of Umayyad rule that refused to recognise the Abbasid dynasty that had overthrown the Umayyads and established its new caliphate in the Middle East. Further, this development of the Emirate of Córdoba occurred in 756 CE, some time after the initial establishment of the Christian kingdom of Asturias, and was not contemporaneous with the initial establishment as the chronicle seems to imply.
[xxxi] Tariq bin Ziyad.
[xxxii] Cf. The reference to Oppa in the Mozarabic Chronicle and my comments on the matter.
[xxxiii] Mount Auseva in the area of Covadonga in Asturias.
[xxxiv] The Ismaelites: i.e. the Arabs/Muslims.
[xxxv] Psalm 88:33-34.
[xxxvi] The Chaldeans: i.e. the Muslims/Arabs. Why this designation is used is a matter of some speculation. Perhaps this designation is used as a synonym with 'Babylonian' because of the fact that the central caliphate authority was based in that region at the time, even though the author has already said that the Muslim-controlled lands in Spain became independent from the central ruling authority in the Middle East. Or perhaps 'Chaldean' is used here as a general designation for people originally from the Levant/Fertile Crescent/Middle East. A more convincing explanation for the use of the term may lie in comparison with the biography of Prophet Muhammad contained in Eulogius' work in defence of the martyrs of Córdoba. The biography portrayed the Arab conquests as the fulfilment of the words of God through the prophet Habbakuk as God declared that He would grant power and ascendancy to the Chaldeans.
[xxxvii] The territory of Liébana in the Cantabria region.
[xxxviii] The locality of Cosgaya in the Liébana territory of Cantabria.
[xxxix] Gijón in the Asturias region.
[xl] 737 CE.
[xli] 739 CE.
[xlii] Alfonso I, king of Asturias in the period 739-757 CE.
[xliii] Liuvigild, Visigothic king of Spain in the period 568-586 CE.
[xliv] Lugo in the Galicia region of Spain.
[xlvi] Porto in modern-day Portugal.
[xlvii] Braga in modern-day Portugal.
[xlviii] Chaves in modern-day Portugal.
[xlix] Águeda in modern-day Portugal.
[l] Ledesma in the province of Salamanca in Spain.
[lii] Ávila in Spain.
[liv] Astorga in northern Spain.
[lvi] Saldaña in northern Spain (Palencia province).
[lvii] Mave, a locality in northern Spain (Palencia province).
[lviii] Amaya, a locality in northern Spain (Burgos province).
[lix] Simancas, a town in northern Spain (Valladolid province).
[lx] Presently the town of Villafranca Montes de Oca in northern Spain (Burgos province).
[lxi] Probably Miranda de Ebro in northern Spain (Burgos province).
[lxii] Probably Briones in northern Spain (La Rioja region/province).
[lxiii] A town in northern Spain (La Rioja region/province).
[lxiv] Probably the locality of El Burgo de Osma in northern Spain.
[lxv] Located in northern Spain (Burgos province).
[lxvi] Probably Arganza in northern Spain (León province).
[lxvii] Sepúlveda in northern Spain (Segovia province).
[lxviii] Exact location uncertain but either in Asturias or Cantabria.
[lxx] Trasmiera, part of the Cantabria region.
[lxxi] Sopuerta, located in the present-day Basque Country.
[lxxii] Also located in the present-day Basque Country.
[lxxiii] The old name for the Castile region.
[lxxiv] Álava, region of the present-day Basque Country.
[lxxv] Biscay, part of the present-day Basque Country.
[lxxvi] Orduña, part of the present-day Basque Country.
[lxxviii] La Berrueza, currently part of the Navarre province in northern Spain.
[lxxix] In Zacarías García Villada's edition (Madrid, 1918) of the chronicle, the following comment is written: 'This text is read in the third responsory of the second nocturne of Holy Saturday, and seems inspired in Isaiah 57:1.'
[lxxx] 757 CE.
[lxxxi] Froila I, king of Asturias in the period 757-768 CE.
[lxxxii] Exact location uncertain.
[lxxxiii] Abd al-Rahman I (Abd al-Rahman bin Hisham), the first amir of the Emirate of Córdoba.
[lxxxiv] Alfonso II, king
[lxxxv] 768 CE.
[lxxxvi] Aurelius, king of Asturias in the period 768-774 CE.
[lxxxvii] i.e. This Froila was the uncle of Froila I.
[lxxxviii] Alfonso I.
[lxxxix] Probably referring to reduction to serfdom.
[xc] 774 CE.
[xci] Silo, king of Asturias in the period 774-783 CE.
[xcii] i.e. Alfonso I.
[xciii] i.e. The Arabs/Muslims.
[xciv] Located northeast of the town of Lugo in the Galicia region.
[xcv] 783 CE.
[xcvi] Alfonso II.
[xcvii] i.e. Froila I.
[xcviii] Mauregatus, usurper of the Asturian throne in the period 783-788 CE.
[xcix] 788 CE.
[c] Bermudo I, king of Asturias in the period 788-791 CE.
[ci] Alfonso II.
[cii] 791 CE.
[ciii] 794 CE.
[civ] Alfonso II.
[cv] Perhaps Abd al-Karim bin Mugith.
[cvi] For a discussion of location, see this paper by Alfonso Fanjul Peraza.
[cvii] Oviedo, a town in Asturias.
[cviii] Saint Thyrsus was a third century Christian martyr.
[cix] The two attacks are dated to the same year in both versions of the chronicle. In 'Medieval Frontiers: Concepts and Practices,' it is noted that in contrast these attacks are 'separated by some twenty-years in the Arabic chronicles, although these sources may also be misleading.'
[cxii] i.e. al-Qurayshi.
[cxiv] Mérida in southern Spain (Badajoz province- Extremadura region).
[cxv] This means that Alfonso II's reign was in the period 791-843 CE.
[cxvi] 843 CE.
[cxvii] Ramiro I, king of Asturias in the period 842-850 CE.
[cxviii] i.e. In Castile region.
[cxix] i.e. Lugo in Galicia.
[cxx] The river Narcea.
[cxxi] Pravia in Asturias.
[cxxii] The Vikings.
[cxxiii] La Coruña.
[cxxv] Mount Naranco.
[cxxvi] 850 CE.
[cxxvii] Also called Ordonius in this chronicle. He was Ordoño I, king of Asturias in the period 850-866 CE.
[cxxix] i.e. Muslim, though the term probably means something along the lines of 'Muhammadan.'
[cxxx] The Banu Qasi, a Muslim clan of purportedly Visigothic origin, traced back to an individual called Cassius.
[cxxxii] Tudela, located in the Navarre region in northern Spain.
[cxxxiii] Huesca in northeastern Spain.
[cxxxiv] Lub bin Musa.
[cxxxv] An obscure term. Scholarship following Dozy (as cited in 'Medieval Frontiers: Concepts and Practices') has assumed it is a transliteration of the Arabic term muwallad, meaning a Muslim of some native Iberian origin.
[cxxxvi] In the La Rioja region/province.
[cxxxviii] The town of Coria in the Extremadura region of western Spain.
[cxl] Nador in present-day Morocco.
[cxli] The islands of Majorca and Minorca.